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A throwback to the likes of Mario Golf and its ilk that knows what it wants to be and thoroughly delivers
While I may never have done more than knock some balls around for fun at a driving range, I can say that over the years I’ve become a connoisseur of golf video games. Dating back to the early days of Nintendo’s original Golf on the NES, through the days of Golden Tee in the arcades, to more modern takes like EA’s golf titles, I’ve always found golf sims to be quite a bit of fun. Borrowing mostly from the earlier end of that spectrum, but also including a little weirdness reminiscent of the golfing in Golf Story, Golfinite may not break a ton of new ground, but it does an excellent job of delivering on its promise of revisiting classic golf sim play from yesteryear.Starting with the positive, the easiest thing to say is that if you’re an old-school golf sim fan there will be plenty here that is thoroughly familiar, but generally in a good way. Graphically it easily brings a sense of nostalgia for the classics, and in general the sound is similarly spot-on. In terms of play there’s also plenty that’s familiar, with a classic 3-click shot gauge, the ability to put some spin on the ball, and generally helpful visual guides that will help you approximate the trajectory of your shots. Something that feels a bit new is the introduction of some mini games of sorts that break down play into different phases for you to demonstrate your skills in, whether working on your putting, approach, or other aspects. One associated feature is that as you “level up” from play you’ll also be able to tweak some of your basic stats RPG style, making you more powerful or accurate in a number of ways.While the game gets loads of elements right, I would say that there are some aspects that felt a little less on target. While overpowering your shot has always tended to result in your shots being a bit less predictable, that effect feels a bit too heightened here, especially since there’s usually a risk-reward element to using that ability, but here it feels discouraged. I mentioned earlier that it felt like some simple on-course hazards like vortices and turtles were borrowed from Golf Story, but given the lack of pretty much anything else that’s whimsical in the game these feel misplaced. Finally, though I get it that you’re supposed to sharpen up your skills before taking on a tournament, the requirement to perform well enough in some of the skill mini games in order to essentially unlock the ability to play in your first tournament feels like a mistake as some people may just want to dig in and tackle all aspects of play, learning as they go instead.All things considered, I think it has been quite some time since I’ve played an indie game like this that has so clearly chosen to emulate past classics and generally hit the formula right on the head. I suppose you could argue there may not be loads of ambition at play here, with pretty well every aspect of play borrowing from something that has come before, but it’s also unusual to see newer games embracing the classic and more simplified look and feel of the old days, so in this case I think that can be given a pass. If you have memories of enjoying those more simplistic golfing sims of old, for a reasonable price this is a great way to revisit the fun of the past.
Justin Nation, Score:
Nindie Choice! [8.1]